Monday, December 20, 2010

An update & Holiday Wishes

Apologies for the lack in new material on the blog. Some things happened that pulled me away from the Internet for a bit, then Thanksgiving and Christmas just snuck right up on me! You know how that happens. 

But, during my haitus, I have been batting around some ideas for reformatting how I list events. I would like to offer more content on the site, but also want to continue providing you with reading event information since it is the whole point of this site. I will use my time off for Christmas to set things up so we can kick off again in January with a bang. 

In the meantime, I'm pretty active on Twitter and Facebook, so feel free to stop by and say hi to me there. I have a wealth of book recommendations is you need help with a gift idea. :-) Have a wonderful holiday!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reading Event at Boswell tonight

Douglas Armstrong, author of Even Sunflowers Cast Shadows

Emma Starkey is a spunky little girl trying hard to be charitable and virtuous. But her calculated attempts have a way of backfiring with tumultuous consequences in Douglas Armstrong’s poignant story of small-town life in 1920s Kansas. As Emma’s grandmother wryly observes, “Even sunflowers cast shadows.”  

 Weaving through four years of Emma’s engaging disasters is a chaotic friendship with a transplanted Yankee whiz kid, Margaret Drummond, whose family arrives one summer burdened with a heavy secret and a flair for the dramatic. As Emma’s and Margaret’s brothers and sisters become friends, too, their lively pursuits and youthful infatuations begin to spawn rivalries that threaten to split them apart. In the end, perilous, even tragic turns await.  This novel recaptures a faded moment in time when innocence could still be lost grudgingly.
Douglas Armstrong 
Author bio: Douglas Armstrong was born in Kansas, but his memories of it are largely second hand, as his family left when he was five. The stories told to him by his mother of life in the small Kansas town where she grew up form the basis of his first novel, Even Sunflowers Cast Shadows. His short stories have appeared in a variety of magazines from Ellery Queen to Alfred Hitchcock to Boys’ Life. After thirty years as a newspaper reporter, editorial writer, columnist and film critic at The Milwaukee Journal and later the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Armstrong has recently left journalism in order to turn to writing fiction full time. He is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and the Milwaukee Press Club, and lives in Whitefish Bay with his family.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Celebration at Harley Davidson Museum

featuring performances by Anne Waldman & John Giorno
Friday, November 19, 2010
Harley-Davidson Museum, 400 W. Canal St. Milwaukee, WI
Honoring Robert Ragir & Sally Tolan

Since 1980, with the support of the Milwaukee community, Woodland Pattern has presented thousands of readings, book arts exhibitions, music performances, films and workshops to over 250,000 children and adults. Please join us at our celebration & silent auction as we commemorate thirty years in Milwaukee.

Entire event, including reception & program, $80 individual/$150 per couple. Program only tickets, $20 in advance/$25 at the door.

5:30pm: Reception & Program
Conversation & mingling
Silent Auction
Hors d'oeuvres & cash bar

7:00pm: Program
Mayoral proclamation
Awards honoring Robert Ragir & Sally Tolan
Performances by John Giorno & Anne Waldman

Reception Registration and payment due Friday, November 12, 2010
Register online at

Join us in honoring longtime friends and supporters Robert Ragir & Sally Tolan


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reading Events & Book Club Meeting!

Book discussion of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

Book club is open for all to join in the conversation!


Will Fellows, author of Gay Bar: The Fabulous True Story of a Daring Woman and her Boys in the 1950s
Co-Sponsored by Bronze Optical

Vivacious, unconventional, candid, and straight, Helen Branson operated a gay bar in Los Angeles in the 1950s—America’s most anti-gay decade. After years of fending off drunken passes as an entertainer in cocktail bars, this divorced grandmother preferred the wit, variety, and fun she found among homosexual men. 

Enjoying their companionship and deploring their plight, she gave her gay friends a place to socialize. Though at the time California statutes prohibited homosexuals from gathering in bars, Helen’s place was relaxed, suave, and remarkably safe from police raids and other anti-homosexual hazards. In 1957, she published her extraordinary memoir Gay Bar, the first book by a heterosexual to depict the lives of homosexuals with admiration, respect, and love.
In this new edition of Gay Bar, Will Fellows interweaves Branson’s chapters with historical perspective provided through his own insightful commentary and excerpts gleaned from letters and essays appearing in gay publications of the period. Also included is the original introduction to the book by maverick 1950s psychiatrist Blanche Baker. The eclectic selection of voices gives the flavor of American life in that extraordinary age of anxiety, revealing how gay men saw themselves and their circumstances, and how others perceived them.
Will FellowsAuthor bio: Will Fellows is the author of Farm Boys: Lives of Gay Men from the Rural Midwest, and A Passion to Preserve: Gay Men as Keepers of Culture, both finalists for the Lambda Literary Award. Farm Boys was named a notable book of the year by Esquire and was adapted into an off-Broadway stage play.  He lives in Milwaukee.
Helen P. Branson (1896-1977) was born in Almena, Kansas and worked as a bank teller, cook, and palm-reading nightclub entertainer before taking over a Melrose Avenue tavern and opening Helen’s in 1952. Self-described as having the demeanor of “your sixth grade teacher or the librarian in the Maple Street branch library,” and at five-foot-four, Branson was a force to be reckoned with, taking on the Vice squads and unruly haters.  She once said that after attending parties held by some of her patrons, she quickly became “bored stiff” at parties “held by straight people.”

Daniel Levin, author of The Last Ember

The author of The Last Ember, Daniel Levin will talk about his compelling and thought-provoking page-turner set in the high-stakes modern worlds of archeology, religion and international terrorism, which is nothing short of a Jewish Davinci Code. Levin is a graduate of Harvard Law School. He clerked for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel and was a visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome in 2004.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Reading Event & Book Club Meeting!

Book Club discusses "Wifey" by Kiki Swinson.


Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
Co-sponsored by the Milwaukee Public Library
Welcome to the very small town of Chabot, Mississippi, where history is long and secrets run deep.  Two men, boyhood friends torn apart by social circumstances of the ‘70s, are thrust together once more when the daughter of a prominent businessman goes missing and a body is found in the woods. Eerily similar to an unsolved mystery from their past, Silas Jones and Larry Ott are set out on a path to discover if they are connected.  Suspenseful and lyrical without sacrificing emotional depth, Franklin’s new novel may have a Southern voice, but its themes of friendship, class, and race—are universal.
10% of all designated sales the evening of the event will be donated to the Milwaukee Public Library, who will have volunteers on hand to assist customers in signing up for, or renewing, library cards, and to answer any questions.  In addition, this kicks off the launch of the Katie Gingrass Gallery’s annual Fill-the-Shelves Tom Franklinevent where the Milwaukee Public Library puts out a request list of books that can be purchased and then donated to the library system.  After tonight’s event, many of the books will be available for purchase at the Katie Gingrass Gallery.
Author bio: Tom Franklin, author of Poachers: Stories, Hell at the Breech, and Smonk, has won numerous awards, including a 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship. His novella, Poachers, was recently selected for inclusion in The Best American Noir of the Century.  Franklin teaches in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program and lives in Oxford, MS, with his wife, the poet Beth Ann Fennelly, and their children.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Saturday, November 13 @ 8pm, Pabst Theater, $29.50
Mike Birbiglia, author of Sleepwalk with Me: and Other Painfully True Stories. Fresh from his appearances on This American Life and Comedy Central, the comedian muses on childhood pipe dreams, life failures, and various disorders.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Murder and Mayhem in Muskego!

This weekend is Murder and Mayhem in Muskego! And if you like mystery, you have to attend this event. If you've ever been to a book convention, it's a lot of waiting in lines to spend 30-45 seconds gushing to your favorite author on how awesome they are, while they sign your book and their publicist shuffles you along. 

The intimacy of this particular event is what makes it so darn special. You will actually be attending panels and sitting with the other authors. Check out this post from event organizer, Jon Jordan.

Please visit their site for additional info and directions.

Tonight from 6:30pm-8:30pm is the meet and greet. Here's the line-up:
Blake Crouch,  Host
Henry Perez
Jamie Preveletti
Reed Farrel Coleman
Ridley Pearson
Victor Gicshler
Victoria Huston

Saturday is the big day! With a full day of fun:
Libby Fischer Hellmann & Tom Schreck, Toast  Masters

Forensic Evidence Recovery Team Demo 9:00-9:50 AM
A. J. Marhofke,  of 911BC K-9 Search & Recovery,
and Zip, forensic evidence search dog

It's All in the Setting 10:00-10:50AM
Blake Crouch
Victoria Huston
Daniel Judson
Michael Lister
Marcus Sakey

Writers' Workshop with Henry Perez, Julie Hyzy and Dana Kaye 10-11:00 AM

Character Matters 11:00-11:50AM
Brett Battles
Chelsea Cain
Sean Chercover
Reed Farrel Coleman
Brian Wiprud

LUNCH  Noon - 1:00 PM

Just Can't Get Enough: Why We Keep Writing 1:00-1:50 PM
Deb Baker
Denise Swanson
Joanna Slain
Julie Hyzy
Tom Schreck
Shirley Dammsgaard

Writers'  Workshop with Marcus Sakey and Blake Crouch   1-2:00 PM

RIDLEY PEARSON - Guest of Honor -   2:00-2:50 PM 
interviewed by Jen Forbus 

Hard Boil, Flip, Repeat:  Crime Fiction on the Edge  3:00-3:50 PM
Neil Anthony Smith
Scott Phillips
Sean Doolittle
Victor Gishler
Brian Azzarello
Christa Faust

Right Time, Right Place:  The Thriller 4:00-4:50 PM
Jeff Abbott
F. Paul Wilson
Shane Gericke
Julie Kramer
Kat Richardson